Germany goalkeeper Oliver Kahn said on Monday he would make no further comment about his rivalry with Jens Lehmann after national goalkeeping coach Sepp Maier was fired for openly backing Kahn in their tense battle.
Clearly shaken by national coach Juergen Klinsmann's decision to summarily fire Maier, Kahn told reporters after a Bayern Munich training session that he would keep mum on the topic from now on. Maier is his goalkeeping coach at Bayern.
"I am not going to have anything further to say about these things," said Kahn, who in the past has frequently slammed Lehmann for his statements that he is the better keeper.
"I kindly request your understanding in this," Kahn said, before turning and walking away.
Earlier, Maier told reporters nothing was fair in football.
"I'm sorry for what happened," said Maier, who won the World Cup with West Germany in 1974 and was on the coaching staff of the 1990 team that won the title again.
"For me the matter is history. I wish the team all the best. I would have liked to have been part of my ninth World Cup."
After Lehmann said last week that Maier was a "lobbyist" for Kahn, the former international shot back that Lehmann should forget about 2006 because Kahn was the best. It was the second time Maier violated Klinsmann's orders to give both goalkeepers an equal chance.
Klinsmann is expected to replace Maier with Andreas Koepke, a teammate from Germany's 1996 European championship-winning team. Lehmann, 34, has 20 caps, the 35-year-old Kahn 74.
Lehmann, who received a mild rebuke from Klinsmann for the remarks critical of Maier, has declined comment since an outstanding performance in Germany's 2-0
"Of course I'd like to play," he said on Saturday. "But the decision lies entirely with Juergen Klinsmann."
Former Germany captain Lothar Matthaeus earlier called Klinsmann a "cold-blooded killer" for sacking Maier.
Matthaeus, who coaches Hungary, was passed over for the Germany job when the German football association (DFB) appointed Klinsmann. Matthaeus and Klinsmann have rarely seen eye to eye.
"Juergen is going his way in a cold-blooded manner," Matthaeus told Munich's T.Z. daily. "He's a killer -- in the past on the pitch and now in the DFB. There's no humanity left. He's letting heads roll to accomplish his aims."
Franz Beckenbauer, an executive at Bayern Munich and former West Germany coach and captain, said he feared the Kahn-Lehmann rivalry was only going to worsen in the run-up to the 2006 tournament hosted by Germany.
"There's a danger that their battle is going to be a growing burden on the team," Beckenbauer said. "If Juergen Klinsmann is really going to let them battle it out until 2006 he should at least be fair about it. I have my doubts about that."
Beckenbauer said Kahn should be made the clear number one.
"Lehmann had a strong performance in Tehran, but what has he accomplished in his career? Nothing, aside from a few international matches and one English championship at Arsenal," he said.
By contrast, he added, Kahn has won all the major club titles, including the Champions League, and also led Germany to the 2002 World Cup final.